About Italian Wine

Italy is regularly the world's leading producer of wine quantity-wise (or second next to France - the numbers are very similar), which should come as no surprise, as wine is produced in each of the country's 20 regions (this is the only country in the world where this is true). While there are still many inexpensive red wines produced in the south as well as in Abruzzo in the country's central region,along with a multitude of value-priced whites from the Veneto region in the north, the emphasis over the last thirty years in the Italian wine industry has been more on quality as well as regional and varietal differences in their wines.

Some of the world's most highly regarded red wines, such as Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) as well as Barolo and Barbaresco (Piedmont) are produced in Italy and have brought the country great respect from critics and consumers the world round. Of course, Chianti is a moderately priced red that is as popular a red wine as there is anywhere and Barbera from Piedmont and Nero d'Avola from Sicily, two tangy, spicy reds, have become extremely popular over the past two decades.

As of late, Italian white wines have made great strides, as examples from Friuli, Alto Adige and Campania among other regions, have been recognized for their distinctiveness and vibrancy.

Combining a sense of history with the emphasis on traditional indigenous varieties, along with a willingness to experiment and craft wines that modern consumers are looking for, the Italian wine industry is as strong and as relevant as ever.
Top Picks for Italy
2013 Cent'anni Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG
Dusty garnet black color. Floral, elegant, mature aromas of Christmas pudding and sweet black cherry, orange blossom and violet candy, new leather, and chocolate cookie with a velvety, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a thought-provoking, endless dried forest berries, salted caramel chocolate truffle, polished wood, and dusted jerked meats finish with fine, silky tannins and moderate oak. Life’s puzzle pieces finally come together when drinking this wine.
97 points $32.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2015 Puglia Nero di Troia IGP
Brilliant ruby color. Candied, sweet, fruity aromas and flavors of blueberry sorbet, vanilla gelato, lavender and violet candy, and turkish bazaar with a satiny, vibrant, fruity light body and a medium-long mocha mousse and candied mint leaf finish with well-integrated, soft tannins. A delicious fresh and fruity wine with great complexity; lip-smacking.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2012 Nero di Troia Riserva Castel del Monte DOCG
Bright dusty garnet color. Earthy, inviting aromas and flavors of red licorice and ripe cassis, star anise and rose petal, freshly turned earth, and suede with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a prodigious, very long dried basil and caper berries, sun dried berries, red velvet cake, and bay leaf and allspice finish with well-integrated, silky, fine tannins and moderate oak. An impressive, earthy wine to delight your guests with.
95 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2014 Rossodiversa Colli Euganei
Light garnet color. Earthy aromas and flavors of tar, freshly turned earth, foraged mushrooms, and ripe sour cherry with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and an effortless, subtle, medium-long graphite, forest berries, dried fig, and dried herbs and lavender finish with well-integrated tannins and no oak. A dreamy, slatey, terrior-driven red to take seriously.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2011 Brunello di Montalcino
Bright light garnet color. Fruity, spicy aromas of raspberry, caramel, ginseng, and basil and cinnamon with a full body and a complex, medium-long root beer, tomato leaf, and cracked spices finish with earthy, woody tannins and moderate oak. A luscious Brunello for special occasions.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Le Calende
2012 Barolo DOCG
Dusty brown brick red color. Savory, mature aromas of shitake mushroom, dried parsley, dried cherry, and jasmine tea with a round, lively, dry medium body and a charming, medium-long strawberry, licorice, dark chocolate, and lilac bush and smoked tar finish with well-integrated, papery tannins and moderate oak. A singing Barolo with great umami notes and a big licorice palate.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Bichi Borghesi
2010 Riservva"COPPIOLE" Chianti Colli Senesi
Bright dusty ruby color. Aromas and flavors of black cherries, chestnuts, cherry butter cream, and planked oak and potters clay with an vibrant, dry full body and an intricate, medium-length finish with earthy, woody tannins and moderate oak. An outstanding example.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2012 Barolo DOCG
Burnt sienna color. Interesting, savory aromas and flavors of pressed flowers and dried mushrooms, spiced mulberries and cherries, marinated and roasted root vegetables, and conditioned leather with a satiny, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a complex, long plum, cocoa, tomato-melon relish, and cedar mulch finish with fine, dusty, coating tannins and moderate oak. A complex, dry, earthy Barolo with a sinewy core of rich fruit, oak and mouth-coating tannins for the table.
94 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
La Quercia
2014 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC
Bright dark garnet black color. Earthy, fresh aromas and flavors of mulberry compote, dried apricot, nougat, and marinated meat and mushroom with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a graceful, interesting, medium-length spiced apple, cherry and pear, nut, and grassy earth finish with fine, dusty tannins and light oak. A fun combination of fruit and earthy, meaty rusticity.
94 points $13 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2016 Pinot Grigio
Silvery straw color. Aromas and flavors of apricot, honeycomb, limestone, and dried fruits and nuts with a satiny, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a graceful, complex, medium-long raspberry pavlova, lime zest, and Turkish delight finish with fine, fruit tannins and no oak. A beautiful, delicate, serious expression of pinot grigio.
93 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab